Welcome to my Reading Nook, Sandra. Please make yourself at home and let my cabana boys/girls get you a drink.
Thanks, Dawn, I’m honored to be here. That cabana boy just to your left there, he’s pretty hot. Could you ask him to deliver my drink?
Comfortable? Wonderful. Now let’s get started.
Considering the foot massage cabana boy is giving me right now, I’d have to say I’m marvelously comfortable. Ask away.
To get us started can you tell us a little about what you are working on or have coming out?
I’d love to Dawn, and thanks for asking. THE LETTER and THE TRAINING OF A MARQUESS, both Regencies, are out now. I’ll be submitting my third Regency to my publisher in a week or so. I’m also writing a contemporary romance series, my heroes all ex-SEALs. The first is my Golden Heart® finalist, CRAZY FOR HER. It’s complete and out on submissions, and I’m working on the revisions of the second book.
If we asked your muse to describe you using five words, what do you think they would say?
Knowing my muse, she would give a bored sniff and say, “I’d rather talk about me.”
Name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.
Probably that I jumped out of a plane—willingly—and it was an amazing experience.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?
Right where I love now, in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
If someone hasn’t read any of your work, what book would you recommend that they start with and why?
THE TRAINING OF A MARQUESS as that is the book that precedes THE LETTER. Although they are not a sequel, my characters make cameo appearances in each other’s books.
Where do you find the inspirations for your stories?
Inspiration is everywhere if you open your mind to it. On the news, from books, movies, real life. One little snippet, and off my imagination goes. The inspiration for THE LETTER came from a news story about a young woman held captive for two days by a former boyfriend. The “what ifs” popped into my head. What if this or that happened? What if a couple very much in love were about to be married, but a man, jealous of his cousin, created a scandal and stole the bride? My story is completely different from that snippet I saw on the news, and I can’t really explain how I got from that to the story of THE LETTER—just that a seed was planted that took roots and grew.
Are your characters able to love or do they need to be taught?
Both. In THE LETTER, my heroine, Diana, knew love and happiness right up to the night before her marriage to Michael, so she was able to love. After the scandal and eleven years of misery married to Michael’s cousin, Leo, she believed the ability to love again had been beaten out of her. After Leo’s death, she is reunited with Michael, but still doesn’t believe her heart capable of love. Fortunately for her, Michael is a determined man with a plan.
Do you have a book that was easiest to write or one that was the hardest?
Some books are easier to write than others, but none are completely easy. The hardest though was THE LETTER. It deals with spousal abuse, both mental and physical, and I wanted Diana to be able to heal and find her lost self again. I also wanted to show that there was a part of her that Leo couldn’t steal away, and that was her fierce love for her son. Even during the worst of her years with her husband, she managed to protect and raise her young son.
I also wanted to use humor in the second half of the book to offset the vile deeds in the beginning of the story. Humor is probably the hardest thing for a writer to successfully pull off. Thankfully, Michael’s personality asserted itself and pretty much took over, surprising even me with some of his antics.
If you could collaborate with one author who would it be?
Oh, Dawn, that’s such a hard question to answer. There are so many amazing authors that I love and it’s almost impossible to pick just one. I guess I’d have to say Grace Burrowes. There is just something about her words, they sing to me.
Coffee, tea or other drink to get you moving in the morning?
Mint flavored green tea, always!
What is coming up from you in 2013? Anything you’d like to tease us with?
I’m hoping to see my Regency, KATIE, LOVE (working title) released late fall or early winter. Since the release of THE LETTER, I’ve received requests from readers for the Duke of Aubrey’s story. Aubrey makes an appearance in Michael and Diana’s story and, based on the emails I’ve received, readers found him intriguing and want to know his story. I’m busy working on revisions now.
Anything else you want to add?
You bet. I want to thank you for inviting me here today, it’s been so much fun. Can I keep the cabana boy?
About The Letter:
THE LETTER is the story of a betrayal that wasn’t. Even so, it still tore apart two lovers for eleven years.
On the eve of their wedding, Michael Jeffres, Earl of Daventry, found his betrothed— the woman who meant as much to him as the air he breathed—in bed with his cousin, Leo. Diana remembers nothing of that night. All she knows is that she was forced to marry Leo and then spent the next eleven years in hell.
When the two lovers are brought back together by a letter from Leo a year after his death, Michael and Diana must struggle through all the lies and secrets before they can find a love that far surpasses the one of their youth.
Teaser from The Letter:
Dear cousin mine,
If you are reading this letter, then I am dead. A pity that. I had always hoped you
would go first so I could spit on your grave.
As that pleasure has been denied me, allow me to aim my arrow at a new target,
namely your heart. This is going to knock the earth out from under your feet, Cousin, so prepare yourself. I have earned a place in hell for this one act, but it was worth giving my soul to the Devil to know my deeds will destroy you.
From the day you were born, I have hated you. Even at the age of ten, I understood you would be more than me by simply being born Lord Michael Jefferes, heir to the Earl of Daventry. Everyone adored you and I could not bear it.
So, what devilish little trick have I played on you from beyond the grave? Christ
Almighty, I pray there is a window in hell that will allow me to see your face as you read my next words.
When Lady Diana Cavanaugh caught your interest, I tried my damnedest to turn her attentions to me. Why should you have the richest heiress in the kingdom? Why should you have it all? I will admit, knowing you loved the lady made me determined to have her. When it became apparent she only had eyes for you, I put my devious mind to concocting a new scheme. The brilliance of it staggers me still.
It was the most delicious moment of my life when you found me in bed with your
betrothed on the eve of your wedding. Here is what you don’t know—I never touched her that night! You thought you saw her betraying you, but what you actually saw was a drugged woman.
Are you suitably impressed? If not yet, do not despair, there is more.
Before I get to the best part, let me tell you a little about my wife. I have ruined her. She loved you and I did my best to beat it out of her. She can no longer bear the touch of a man. The beautiful, spirited girl you loved is no more.
You are likely asking why I waited a year to put this letter in your hands. I wanted my darling wife to have her year of mourning my poor dead self. So she would have no distractions from that loving duty, I have installed her and our son in a very out of the way place, a very lonely place.
I still haven’t told you my coup de grace.
There is a possibility James Charles Standish is your son! You see why I pray there
is a window in hell? You should also know, I have done my best to instill my hate for you onto the boy. I managed (and had much fun doing so) to spend my wife’s inheritance, most of it going to whores and gaming hells. What this means is there is little money left for my wife and the boy, so as to their condition at their little
hideaway, I couldn’t say. How could I? I am dead.
However, you may no longer give a damn. If so, then already, I like you better. But I know you Cousin; your sanctimonious scruples will not allow you to turn your back on them. So, I hereby bequeath to you one used wife and one (possible) son. Do with them what you will.
Sandra lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Most days, you can find her with her fingers on a keyboard, her mind in the world of her imagination. It's a land where romance and happy endings exist, a land where anything is possible.
When her husband can drag her away from her computer, she likes to travel with her very own hero in their RV, but she always brings her laptop. There are still stories to write, after all.
A few highlights of Sandra's life she fondly recalls are jumping out of a plane, flying upside down in a stunt plane, and riding her Harley in the mountains of Southern California and along the coast of Maine. She's managed a private airport and held the position of General Manager of a Harley-Davidson dealership.
Although those events in her life were great fun, nothing compares to the joy and satisfaction she gets from writing her stories.
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